Heitor Villa-Lobos, conductor & pianist
Victoria de los Angeles, soprano
Magda Tagliaferro, piano
Frederick Fuller, baritone
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française
This 22-CD set from EMI has a great premise: all of the works included are performed by the composer. Disc 10 is largely a subset of the Villa-Lobos par lui-même set of the music VL conducted in Paris in the mid-1950s. There are two small items not included in that set, and they're performances I haven't seen before: baritone Frederick Fuller sings two Miniaturas with Heitor Villa-Lobos accompanying him at the piano. These were recorded on 12.II.1948, at the No.3 Studio, Abbey Road, London. I wonder if there are any more bits like this in the EMI UK archives?
The Frederick Fuller songs are evidently from the 78rpm disc HMV B.9700:
Otherwise, EMI has chosen well from roughly 12 hours of music recorded in Paris. This Choros #10 always sounds fresh, if a bit ragged, and one can never hear Victoria de los Angeles sing BB#5 too often. I was pleased that Magda Tagliaferro's Momoprecoce was included as well.
There are many wonders on the other 21 discs. The Elgar, Britten, and Stravinsky recordings are, of course, famous. I've always loved Shostakovich's own performance of selected Preludes & Fugues (I wish he had recorded them all). It was also nice to hear a very early recording of Hans Pfitzner conducting the three Palestrina preludes. (It was great, by the way, to see the Otmar Suitner recording of the complete Palestrina opera show up on the Naxos Music Library - Berlin Classics 0010012BC - earlier this week.) And the French composers are very well represented: Milhaud, Schmitt, Poulenc, Roussel, Honegger, and others.
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